Grandson of the Liberal Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister, Earl (Lord John) Russell, he published his first work, An Essay on the Foundations of Geometry (1897), at the age of 25. This was followed by The Principles of Mathematics (1903) and Principia Mathematica (1910–1913). A pacifist during the First World War, he was imprisoned in 1918. Russell gave the first Reith lectures on radio in 1949. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950, and became the first President of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in 1958.Subdued in palette and the handling of paint, Fry's portrait is notable for its clarity, directness and understatement. These qualities seem appropriate for a likeness of a philosopher who admired the 'supreme beauty' of mathematics – 'cold and austere'.
Where to see this painting?
National Portrait Gallery, London
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